Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Managing Your Emotions: Daniel's Example

Daniel is one of my favorite Bible characters! (And Joseph. I never pick the easy ones..oh wait, there aren't any. Shouldn't that tell us something about life?) In my chronological reading of the Bible- which I'm thoroughly enjoying by the way; I will definitely do it again- I just finished reading Daniel. As I was reading, God really spoke to my heart. 

photo courtesy of david castillo dominici/freedigitalphotos.net

Sometimes I get discouraged about how I can be a good testimony to others when I often feel so crazy. Let's admit it, ladies. We women can feel crazy. It's not just me. Every woman I know will admit to feeling less than spectacular on more days than not. We can go from high to low and back to high again in just one hour!  It takes a lot of praying and practice but I generally don't act crazy. My husband will testify to this and he's the best judge. But I frequently feel less than top-notch (you know, those days when you wake up and everything feels right?) and I always felt that it must hinder my testimony. It must make me a bad Christian.

I am changing my mind about that. My feelings don't matter as much as it seems they do. 

Back to Daniel:
-Daniel was taken from his family, home, and God's promised land. He left all that was dear to him and most of the people were probably killed.  (1:1-6)
-He was taken to a place where no one cared particularly about him (at least at first) and everything was different. He was a slave, a prisoner. (1:3-7)
-He was surrounded by a heathen, ungodly people who did not share his faith. (1:2)
-He was persecuted for his character and his faith. (6:4-8)
-He bore mental and emotional burdens from the visions that God gave him. (7:28; 8:27)

I do not see in any of that how Daniel could have "felt" good. Or how his feelings were upbeat and enthusiastic.  Instead I find that he probably had to give it all to God every day and beseech Him for help to obey instead of giving in to feelings. 

But how was the Daniel with all these feelings remembered? It's documented for us in chapter 6. 

He had an excellent spirit.  (6:3)
He was faithful. (6:4)
He loved God. (6:5)

There is hope for me! If Daniel can go through all of that and display an excellent spirit to others; if he can continue being faithful in spite of how he felt; if he can be remembered for his love for God, so can I. Daniel was not special on his own. Neither am I. But God lives in me. The same God that Daniel served. God makes the difference! In spite of hormonal mood swings, cabin fever, metabolic mommy concerns, and all the other difficulties of life, God can change my heart.  

We are not to wait on good feelings or perfect circumstances to serve God. Serve now. Obey now. Let God do the work. 

And let's not forget that some of the reason Daniel could stand like this before others is because he was on his knees before God multiple times a day. (6:10) And..something that makes my heart smile...a few chapters later Daniel is referred to by an angel as "much beloved." (9:23; 10:11, 19)

Those three things in Daniel life caused several kings to issue decrees about the abilities and faithfulness of Daniel's God. May He get all the glory! (4:34-37; 6:25-28) They also caused Daniel to get promoted in his work. God blesses obedience! (2:48; 5:29)

God gave Daniel the wisdom He needed for the work He put in front of him. He will do the same for me! 


  1. How true. I really liked the reminder "he can continue to be faithful in spite of how he felt." Wow, I'm going to ponder that today. That really spoke to my heart. There is a situation in my life right now that requires me to cling to this truth. Faithfulness to God no matter how I am feeling about something. A very good post again, thanks! Have a blessed day!

    Sharon : )

  2. You're welcome! It's something I need to consider every day!